Consumers are less loyal than before the pandemic, study finds

By our News Team | 2022

More than a quarter of those surveyed said they were ‘less loyal’ now, and researchers warn that ‘habit’ is not ‘loyalty’.

Joint research by two UK companies has revealed the surprising impact of the pandemic on customer loyalty. 

The report, titled ‘The Loyalty Paradox’ shows that brand loyalty became a thing of the past last year with over a quarter (27.4%) of UK and US consumers showing no ‘brand loyalty’ at all across any sectors.

First-party customer data specialists Edit, and digital transformation consultancy Kin + Carta, published their joint report recently.

Two thousand respondents, split equally between the UK & US, were asked multiple-choice questions relating to loyalty, personalisation and customer experience, across a broad range of sectors.

Customer Loyalty

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

E-commerce scored particularly poorly, with only 6% of consumers claiming loyalty to brands within that vertical. As the lowest scoring online segment, e-commerce brand loyalty was below that of finance (9%) and offline retail – food and drink (21.5%).

Rob McGowan, Joint Managing Director at Edit comments: “These results suggest that while the e-commerce sector boomed during the pandemic, brands would be wise not to confuse habitual purchasing with perceived loyalty.”

Outside of e-commerce, loyalty towards financial products increased with age and, unsurprisingly, with those who have a high income of £75 000-plus (US$101 000-plus). Over 20% of respondents in this income bracket claimed loyalty to brands within the sector.

In a digital-first customer journey, rewards are most likely to drive the sharing of personal data across demographics. A total of 43% of respondents suggested ‘a discount code or incentive’ would persuade them to sign up to brand communications.

Gen Z consumers like the idea of ‘exclusivity’

A quarter (25%) would like ‘exclusive products or first opportunity to purchase’, while Gen Z consumers saw ‘exclusivity’ as particularly appealing, with nearly a third (30%) interested in ‘first opportunity to purchase’.

Receiving rewards were seen as an appropriate trade-off for sharing personal information, but more pragmatic considerations still remain the most important consideration to younger audiences. Operational and customer service communications outweighed rewards as a ‘return factor’ for younger generations. 

In all, 34% of Gen Z respondents and 32% of Millennials said that they would be ‘deterred from making another purchase if they cannot contact customer services via their preferred method’.

McGowan continues: “Brands cannot rely on loyalty anymore. Brand affinity through emotional connection has weakened to be replaced by habitual ties based on lived and related experience with brands and retailers.

“Brands therefore need to ensure that they look at the individual customer, and how they interact with the business to understand their behaviours and encourage habitual purchasing. 

He adds: “Brands should be looking at the customer journey as a whole, as well as spotting opportunities to innovate through data. Do it right, and there is an opportunity to retain more customers, as well as bringing in new ones”.

Karl Hampson, Chief Technology Officer for Data & AI at Kin+Carta, concludes “Our research shows that brands must not confuse repeat purchasing with ‘loyalty’. Instead, they should balance repeat transactional activity with how engaged the customer is across all interactions.

“Data will be key to this holistic measure, but equally brands must invest in the capabilities to understand the human behind the data. This means making data more accessible, insights easier to unlock and bringing your customer experience and data teams closer together so a shared understanding and strategy can be achieved.”

Read the full report here: https://edit.co.uk/customer-journey-research-report/

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.